Organizational Versus People Readiness
Excerpt from DM Turner Launch Lead Live: The executive’s guide to preventing resistance and succeeding with organizational change
“We’re ready. All the hardware and software is installed and the employees have been trained.” That was a comment from a manager who was implementing a large system change in his organization. It sure sounded like they were ready. However, an informal assessment of the employees told a very different story.
Yes, the employees had been trained on the system. But many still didn’t understand why the change was needed, which was impeding their ability to retain the training. There was also a general perception that the value gained from the new system didn’t outweigh the amount of work required to use it. This was even after the leaders had accounted for initial learning curve. It appeared the organization was ready but the people who needed to adopt the change were not.
Organizational Readiness does not equal People Readiness
Organizational and people readiness are not the same. Organizational readiness refers to the concrete or structural requirements of the organization that must be prepared before the change event can occur. These can include, construction of new physical space, the acquisition and customization of new software, rewriting job descriptions, defining the new processes, or the installation of new hardware.
People readiness is the change recipient’s ability and capability to adopt the actions and behaviors needed to realize the outcome of the change event. People readiness includes, internalization of the need for change, high levels of perceived capability, motivation and commitment to take action. Although people readiness requirements are different, more intangible than those required for organizational readiness, both types of readiness are needed for successful and sustainable change.
In, “Launch, Lead, Live: The Executive’s Guide t0 Preventing Resistance and Succeeding with Organizational Change”, I describe several actions you can take to build people readiness. Measuring readiness is one action that will help you plan and enable change more successfully.
It’s helpful to know your employees’ level of readiness in the early period of any change initiative. This gives you a starting place. Your planning and your plan should be aligned with your employees’ level of readiness.
Then assess readiness periodically throughout the transition. Assessing it as people move through the change process will help you define the actions needed to increase readiness and prevent resistance. Measuring readiness also helps you:
- Identify the actions not to take in order to prevent resistance to change and raise readiness for change
- Identify an accurate timeline to ensure adoption and sustainability of the desired result
- Prevent change fatigue
- Identify potential barriers
- Communicate the desired outcome
- Build trust
Readiness can be measured through a formal assessment tool, like TCM’s Level of Readiness Assessment (LORA), or informally through focus groups, meetings and discussions with the change recipients. Regardless of the method, ensure the results are documented and communicated to everyone involved in planning for the change.
Dr. Dawn-Marie Turner
Helping you Launch, Lead and Live change.
P.S. Contact me for more information about the LORA or other ways to measure readiness for change. The LORA is a quantitative measure of a person’s readiness for a specific organizational change.